Be confident. It is easy to say, but following up on the very popular advice is never going to be easy.
Confidence, like most things, takes a lot of work to build. Yet, when you become confident, so many things in the world threaten to tear down your self-esteem. The media that glorifies only one type of beauty as the standard, your peers who seem to have achieved success and happiness at such a young age, or parents who have high expectations about your own life all work together to create insecurities. It is difficult to attain confidence, and it is even more difficult to keep it whether you are an adult or a child.
The lack of confidence can prevent people from pursuing their dreams. It also damages a person’s mental health, leading to anxiety and depression. Not having confidence is even more detrimental among young people.
The Power of the Arts
However, encouraging young people to pursue their passion is an effective way to boost their self-esteem.
Indeed, one study has proven that being engaging in a creative pursuit has a positive impact on confidence. The researchers from University College London revealed that children who participated in art-related activities (listen or playing music, painting or drawing, reading) are more likely to have higher levels of confidence than those who did not.
Moreover, there is no requirement for children to be “good” at whichever form of art they explore to reap the benefits. They only have to be “engaged” to feel more confident.
Performing Encourages Self-Expression
Not everyone is born a performer. Some immediately feel at ease on-stage, surrounded by an audience. Others, however, tend to retreat whenever they are put into the spotlight and in front of a crowd.
Through performing – whether by dancing, singing, or acting – young people who are not comfortable in public will gain confidence as well as improve their abilities. A school of performing arts or a performing arts program creates a safe space for self-expression, nudging them to come out of their shells and find their own unique voices.
The Arts and Confidence: Why are They Linked?
Art has a positive impact on self-esteem for many reasons. The first and, perhaps, most important, is it allows them to do what they love. Passion is a necessary ingredient to build confidence. That is why popular performers who confess to be shy or do not like the limelight are able to go on stage to perform or appear in a movie day after day. Because they are passionate about their music or acting, they are able to combat the nerves and perform.
Performers also build confidence from a job well done. Children who participate in art-related activities open themselves up to their teachers and their classmates and get positive feedback for their work. They get the reassurance that their work is appreciated and, thus, they are more likely to believe in their own abilities in the future.
Experts propose that art in general gives young people the perception that they are unique. This individuality further leads to self-worth and accomplishment resulting in confidence.
Art Develops Other Skills
Being involved in the art can make a person smarter and overall more well-rounded. Art does not only tap into a person’s creativity. It uses and, therefore, sharpens other parts of the minds as well.
Art teaches young people to think outside of the box because it broadens their perception of the world. Through learning art, they are exposed to different cultures, traditions, and ideas. The way they look at the world around them is altered.
Art also develops problem-solving skills. Whenever they have to perform, for example, they are faced with unexpected situations and time constraints. They have to find a solution using the limited resources available to them before they go on stage and face the audience. It forced them to analyze the problem, observe their environment, and make the correct decisions within a few hours or minutes.
In addition, art has been proven over and over again to boost cognitive function. Those who are involved in the arts get better grades compared to their peers in reading and maths tests.
Music, in particular, has been hailed for its benefits to make children smarter. A recently-published study, which followed nearly 150 students from The Netherlands, found that those who received music lessons beginning at age six had improved language-based reasoning and the capability to organize and then complete their daily tasks. They are also academic achievers.
Children who do not have confidence should be encouraged to pursue their passion for the arts because it will build their self-esteem. Being involved in the arts also has the potential to make them smarter and more competitive which are traits that will be valuable throughout their lives.